Health experts have said that people are already into the few months of 2021 and the public health authorities have yet not seen a single case of flu in the UK. They believe that it might be due to the precautionary measure such as social distancing, mask-wearing, and lockdowns that have been put in place to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These practices might have killed the flu virus. However, flu cases are quite low across the world. Experts have said that if these measures have prevented the flu virus, they might have kept other infectious viruses at bay that might be far more deadly than the flu virus. They fear that as the world overcomes the COVID crisis and people start to go back to their normal life routine, these deadly viruses can surprise the world with a vicious comeback. Experts have said that as the governments allow international air travel to resume, the world might see a deadly comeback of these currently suppressed viruses. Measles morbillivirus is a huge matter of concern in this regard, said the experts. Around 2.6 million people have lost their lives across the world due to a measles outbreak in 1980. It has been slightly more than the global number of death due to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vaccinations have cut down the number of deaths to 100000 related to measles in 2014. However, low vaccine coverage in recent years has brought a surge in the number of deaths linked to the deadly virus.
Scientists have been worrying that cancellations and disruption of measles vaccination plans due to the COVID19 pandemic might lead to a massive measles outbreak in the future, as the world overcomes the COVID19 crisis. The measles vaccine includes two doses, which are known as MCV1 and MCV2. Experts have said that the rate of vaccination needs to be more than 95 percent to avoid outbreaks. As per the data, the MCV1 coverage has been wedged at only 85 percent for more than a decade. At the same time, the MCV2 coverage is growing but it has been able to reach only 71 percent. This is the reason why the cases of measles have started increasing after they have dropped slowly from 2010 to 2016. The data of 2020 has not been compiled yet as there is a delay of 9 to 10 months before the World Health Organization (WHO) can gather and report the data on measles cases. Experts expect that there might be fewer cases of measles due to the precautionary measures put in place during the COVID19 pandemic. However, what will happen after the pandemic ends, that is a huge matter of concern. Around 50 countries have canceled the mass vaccination programs for various viruses during the first six months of the COVID19 pandemic. Routine vaccinations have been disrupted by issues such as lack of public transport. Million of children have missed their important inoculations during the pandemic. Experts have said that vaccination is a key measure against viruses such as measles. As per the scientists, the reproductive number for the SARS-CoV-2 virus means the number of further infections from a new infection is somewhere between 2 to 3. The reproductive number for measles has been 12 to 18. It makes measles one of the most infectious known viruses in the world.
A professor of Public Health at the University of Newcastle in Australia, Dr. David Durrheim has said that other outcomes of the pandemic as well will contribute to a huge measles outbreak in the future. He has said that kids might be more susceptible to measles due to the other effects of the pandemic such as disruption of the food supply. Malnourished kids are considerably more susceptible to complications of measles. Experts have said that there has been an effective measles vaccine for decades, the measles virus replicates so gradually that it is not able to evolve enough to dodge the vaccine. They have said that the current challenge is to attain enough vaccine coverage. There is a need to achieve sufficient vaccine coverage given all vaccinations have been disrupted in the last year. Though developing countries might face the major brunt of a future measles outbreak, it will affect the US and other developed countries as well. Health authorities have said that the governments should emphasize restoring measles vaccinations along with COVID19 vaccine rollout. As per the report, if governments do not act swiftly, the end of the pandemic might leave behind another outbreak with equal consequences.